D J Finney and E S Pearson Correspondence

Scope and Content

Correspondence between D J Finney and Egon Pearson, 1956-1980.

Administrative / Biographical History

Egon Pearson was born in 1895. Educated, Dragon School, Oxford; Winchester College; Trinity College, Cambridge, 1914-1920; war service at the Admiralty and Ministry of Shipping; lecturer, Department of Applied Statistics, University College London, 1921-1933; Rockefeller Research Fellowship, 1925-1927; London DSc, 1926; Reader and Head of the Department of Applied Statistics, 1933-1935; professor of statistics, University College London, 1935-1960;managing editor of 'Biometrika', 1936-1966; Editor of Auxiliary Publications, 1966-1975; war service, Ordnance board, 1939-1945; president of the Royal Statistical Society, 1955-1956; Fellow of the Royal Society, 1966; died, 1980.

David John Finney KBE (born 1917) is Professor Emeritus of Statistics at the University of Edinburgh. He was Director of the Agricultural Research Council's Unit of Statistics from 1954 to 1984 and a former President of the Royal Statistical Society and of the Biometric Society. He was a pioneer in the development of systematic monitoring of drugs for detection of adverse reactions.

Finney was educated at the Lymm Grammar School and Manchester Grammar School, where he won a Cambridge scholarship. He read mathematics and statistics at Clare College, University of Cambridge from 1934 to 1938. He was awarded a postgraduate scholarship for statistical work in agriculture under Ronald Fisher at the Galton Laboratory, University College London, where he worked on statistical estimation for human genetics. He became assistant to Dr Frank Yates at Rothamsted Experimental Station in 1939, where there was great emphasis on increasing productivity of agriculture and he was involved in the design of field experiments and the interpretation of their results. In 1945, he joined the University of Oxford as the first holder of the post of Lecturer in the Design and Analysis of Scientific Experiment. He married in 1950 and with his wife and new-born son, left Oxford in 1952 for New Delhi where, for a year, he acted as a consultant to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation on the development of the Central Research Organisation in New Delhi. After returning from India, he moved to the University of Aberdeen where he became Reader in Statistics and also established a Unit of Statistics funded by the Agricultural Research Council, which was to provide a service for Scotland modelled on that provided by Rothampstead for England. The Agricultural Research Council moved the Unit of Statistics to the University of Edinburgh in 1966 and Finney, who moved to Edinburgh with it, became the first Professor of Statistics at the university and well as being the Director of the Unit of Statistics. He retired from his position at Edinburgh in 1984.

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Acquisition Information

From D J Finney via R F Galbraith, UCL Department of Statistical Science, UCL, Oct 1991.

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